First Drive

Mahindra Bolero ZLX review, test drive

Our first impressions of the updated Mahindra Bolero with the new low-cost common-rail system

DETAILS
6
photos

There’s life in the Bolero yet. Mahindra has just upgraded India’s most popular MUV by giving it a low-cost common-rail system. There’s a minor facelift too, along with some interior updates.

The Bolero is powered by the same capacity 2523cc diesel engine as before. Only, now it comes with a common-rail motor to make it more efficient and to improve drivability. At 63bhp and 19.8kgm of torque, power output is the same as the old direct-injection engine, but there is a minor increase in peak torque. What you do get is peppy low-speed responses – the engine pulls cleanly from 1000rpm in third gear – and with surprising refinement. Yes, the diesel clatter is audible but it’s not like the old DI engine that would make your ears ring after a long journey.

Out on the highway, the engine runs out of steam pretty quickly, and it gets worse once loaded up with seven people. At just 100kph, you are getting close to the outer edges of the Bolero’s performance envelope, which means overtaking maneouvres need serious planning. Flat out, the Bolero hits 100kph in a yawning 25.61 seconds and, because of its limited power, takes ages to get to its 124kph top speed.

However, given its vintage, the Bolero’s road manners are much better than you would expect. The ride is quite level and absorbent over most surfaces, and only sharp bumps filtering through to the cabin. There’s not muchsteering feel though and the crisp handling typical of modern SUVs is just not there.

The redesigned dash looks like it’s been lifted straight out of Knight Rider. By modern car standards, the digital displays and voice messaging system are pretty cheesy, but we are sure it will have quite an effect in the rural areas, where the Bolero is popular. The digital gauges and trip computer do add some sophistication and the beige fabric brightens things
up a bit, but dashboard panel gaps and the general quality are well below par. The poor ergonomics, a time-honoured Bolero problem, persist. The front seats are flat, the steering is too big and too high and the pedals are painful to use after some time. It’s almost like Mahindra benchmarked tractors when finalising the driving position. Move over to the rear and you are greeted by cramped seats which don’t offer much legroom or good underthigh support.

The Bolero comes with a start-stop system which improves fuel effeciency. As a hardy and rugged vehicle for rural areas, the Bolero works well. As a personal car, it is too crude and too compromised. The ageing platform is not that good on safety either.  Priced at Rs 6.96 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Bolero in its ZLX avatar is not cheap. It feels dated and it would make more sense to shell out Rs 50k more and go for the Xylo or Scorpio instead. 

Fact File

Price Range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price 6.96 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Engine

Fuel Diesel
Installation Front longitudinal, RWD
Type 2523cc
Power 2523cc
Torque 19.88kgm at 1400-2200rpm

Transmission

Gearbox 5-speed manual

Dimensions

Length 4107mm
Width 1745mm
Height 1880mm
Wheel base 2680mm
Ground clearance 180mm

Performance

0-20 1.60
0-40 4.34
0-60 8.67
0-80 14.97
0-100 25.61
0-120 52.56
See more about:  mahindra, bolero, xylo, xuv500, sumo, grande, sumo, gold, force, one, toyota, innova

Mahindra Bolero ZLX review, test drive

notSet

Toyota’s striking new Corolla driven this month; plus, the new Datsun Go takes on the best in the segment.
What's in this issue?

Most Read
Find a car review

Latest Car Reviews

New Tata Aria review, test drive

New Tata Aria review, test drive

4 days ago
Tata Aria gets its first facelift since launch. Other than subtle cosmetic...
Jaguar XF 2.0-litre petrol review, test drive

Jaguar XF 2.0-litre petrol review, test drive

6 days ago
Jaguar XF 2.0 petrol sedan is the carmaker's most affordable petrol car...
New Toyota Corolla Altis review, test drive

New Toyota Corolla Altis review, test drive

6 days ago
Toyota says the new Corolla will appeal to the heart and head. It certainly...
Renault Koleos automatic facelift review, test drive

Renault Koleos automatic facelift review, test drive

Apr 7, 2014
The automatic avatar of Renault's premium SUV drives quite differently from...
Ford EcoSport long term review first report

Ford EcoSport long term review first report

Apr 7, 2014
Our car of the year, the Ford EcoSport is fast reminding us of why we went...
Latest News
New York 2014: Revised Infiniti Q70 shown
Updated Infiniti Q70 gets cosmetic changes on the outside; to be offered in...
22 minutes ago   3 pictures
A-class, B-class account for 20 percent of Mercedes-Benz’s India sales
Mercedes says entry-level models drawing newer customers; A-Class, B-Class...
52 minutes ago   1 picture
New York 2014: Chevrolet Cruze facelift to be showcased
Updated Chevrolet Cruze gets cosmetic upgrades and new connectivity tech.
2 hours ago   1 picture
Beijing 2014: Ford Escort production version
Ford Escort will be built in China; likely to use powertrain from...
3 hours ago   2 pictures
New York 2014: Volkswagen Jetta facelift to be shown
Mild update for Jetta sedan, including cosmetic upgrades on the outside and...
5 hours ago   4 pictures

Autocar Magazine

Issue: 176 | April 2014

Toyota’s striking new Corolla driven this month; plus, the new Datsun Go takes on the best in the segment.
Autocar Magazine
Latest Poll
Which hatchback would you choose out of these two?


or View results
Datsun Go
  57%
 
Maruti Wagon R
  43%
TOTAL VOTES: 1567

Vote now
View previous Polls »